Respond to discussion below using current APA edition and 2-3 references within 4 years or less. Must be at least 150 words.
The nursing profession is grounded on three essential elements: practice, research, and theory. These components have a reciprocal and cyclical relationship, where clinical practice generates research questions and knowledge for theory, and research guides practice and builds knowledge through theory development (Saleh, 2018). For effective nursing practice, it is crucial to apply knowledge, skills, and care to provide patients with care that is efficient, effective, and considerate. Research findings play a critical role in making clinical decisions, and ideally, all patient care decisions should be evidence-based.
The purpose of research in nursing is not only to guide practice but also to generate and test theory to build knowledge in the field. The relationship between research and theory is reciprocal, with each one generating more knowledge and informing the other (Saleh, 2018). A good theory enhances our understanding of a subject and is evaluated based on its effectiveness in guiding research and practical applications (Butts & Rich, 2018). The primary objective of a theory is to compress and retain knowledge and express our understanding of the world in concise statements. The process of developing a theory involves conducting research to test or generate theories and utilizing research-supported theories in practical settings (Butts & Rich, 2018).
The primary goal of nursing theory is to improve practice and positively influence patient health and quality of life. The relationship between theory and practice is reciprocal, with practice serving as the foundation for theory development and theory needing validation through practice (Saleh, 2018). However, there is often a perceived gap between theory and practice in the nursing profession, with practicing nurses using the language of nursing theory only when mandated to do so by accrediting bodies. Several factors contribute to this gap, including the perception that theory development is the domain of nurse educators and scholars rather than practicing nurses and the view that nursing theory and practice are separate activities (Saleh, 2018).
To bridge the gap between theory and practice, nursing leaders must maintain the reciprocal and cyclical relationship among practice, research, and theory. This can be achieved through continued interaction between nursing researchers, educators, and practicing nurses (Saleh, 2018). Increasing exposure to theoretical principles for undergraduate and graduate student nurses and stressing theoretical concepts and principles following formal education are essential. It is also necessary to provide nursing theorists and researchers with the opportunity for clinical involvement to minimize the disparity between the theoretical world and the world of practicing nurses. Finally, addressing healthcare and nursing issues from a theoretical perspective will help to guide theory-guided practice, which is the future of nursing (Saleh, 2018). Nurses must rely on sound theoretical principles to develop and implement effective, efficient, and holistic plans of care.